NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

Placements and getting into research

The BRC is committed to supporting the next generation of NHS researchers.

In collaboration with the NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility (CRF), the BRC supports individuals to undertake flexible placements in research. During each placement cycle a number of project opportunities are advertised, which are aligned to BRC research themes and strategic priorities.

The BRC are open to working with partners to offer opportunities for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals to gain experience in research. We have previously partnered with NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) Greater Manchester and pre-doctoral fellowship schemes based at University of Manchester NHS Foundation Trust.

Who is the placement scheme for?

Placements are open to nurses, midwives, pharmacists and allied health professionals including (but not limited) to physios, audiologists and dieticians.  They offer the chance to experience what research is like through short, flexible placements.

The BRC scheme offers employers backfill funding to release applicants from work for the placement duration. The scheme supports on average five candidates per cycle and so far has supported twenty participants North West NHS Trusts to gain experience in research.

What will I learn during the placement?

Placements are embedded within existing research teams and facilitated by an appropriate supervisor, so the experience is unique for each individual.  Placements could be located in a University or hospital setting, depending on the nature of the project, with some opportunities for remote working.

Previous placement holders have benefitted from:

  • dedicated time to focus on research including exploring literature and data
  • experience of working within a multidisciplinary research team and networking with colleagues outside of their immediate role
  • access to further training opportunities via the project supervisory team, BRC and University.

Developing skills and confidence, such as:

  • an insight into experimental medicine
  • understanding the principles of good research design and how study design impacts on patient care and in a clinical context
  • critical analysis – selecting and extracting data for inclusion in systematic reviews
  • working with statistics, data sets and relevant software
  • opportunities to write up work in the form of short reports, abstracts, and presentations.

What our placement supervisors say


I have supervised research projects in all rounds of the BRC placements and have always found these individuals to be enthusiastic, keen and capable. These placements are a superb opportunity for developing wider research knowledge and skills, and I still enjoy collaborating with the students I supervised.

Dr Alan McWilliam – Honorary Senior Lecturer, Advanced Radiotherapy Theme

Two dietitians spent their 30 day place on our Family History Lifestyle study. They’ve been involved in the delivery of the test dietary intervention and have undertaken trial assessment appointments collecting anthropometric and questionnaire data. Also data entry of trial end points , and analysis of factors which influence uptake to the study including age, level of risk, age , socioeconomic status.

Dr Michelle Harvie, Research Dietitian, Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Theme

We enjoyed having Jake in a placement with us in the Respiratory Theme. It also helped us reflect on our activities and how they would come across for someone looking at us with fresh eyes.

Professor Jørgen Vestbo, Respiratory Theme Lead

Find out more

Read placement student Becky’s blog

Find out more

Read placement student Jake’s blog

Becoming embedded in the team during my BRC placement allowed me to gain great insight into research. I found talking to staff about their experiences in research and attending courses provided by the university very useful. I thoroughly enjoyed completing a research project which enabled me to gain further skills and obtain knowledge in this environment.

Fiona, placement student

I feel the experience has increased my confidence surrounding the entire research process. I’ve had an excellent time being able to home in on some existing skills relevant to research like critical appraisal. It’s also been a brilliant opportunity to learn new skills like data analysis methods too!

Brendan, placement student

When does it take place and how do I apply?

Placement opportunities are usually advertised in Spring and the current cycle has now closed. If you are interested in being notified of the next available cycle please contact brcplacements@manchester.ac.uk to be added to the mailing list.